(Wyoming Frontier Prison)

500 W Walnut Street, Rawlins, WY

(307) 324-4422

Status: Former Prison, Museum


Haunted Tours are Offered at Halloween


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All Photos Courtesy of Cold Spot Research Paranormal


This location is Wyoming’s first State Penitentiary. The cornerstone was laid in 1888 but due to financial and climate issues it took 13 years to build the prison.

In December of 1901 the Prison opened with no electricity, no running water and an inadequate heating system. There were only 104 cells in what is now called Cell Block A. 32 cells were added in 1904. In 1950 a more modern complete Cell Block (B) was added. A maximum-security Cell Block (C) was built in 1966 with 36 cells for the worst of the worst.

Until 1909 women were housed in the prison as well as men.

Until 1936 the State’s method of execution was by hanging. 9 men in total were hung. After 1936 executions were done by Gas Chamber. 5 men met their end in the Gas Chamber.

The prisoners were most commonly punished by either solitary confinement in the dungeon or being handcuffed to a punishment pole and whipped with a rubber hose.

The prison closed in 1981 – replaced by a more modern penitentiary in Rawlins – and sat abandoned until 1987 when it was used as a film set. In 1988 it became the museum it is today.


Paranormal Activity

Numerous prisoners and at least one guard committed suicide on the grounds.

A total of 200 prisoners died in the Prison by execution, suicide, prisoner on prisoner violence and natural causes.

As with most prisons this one has a larger than average amount of negative energy. When the prison first opened Wyoming had a large population of strong and rough people settling the area. Some of these people that came to the frontier were rougher than most and ended up being locked up here. Some of them are still in the prison.

In one particularly disturbing incident, a prisoner out a parole went after a sweet lady who was baking pies and bringing them to the prison. He raped and murdered her and was sent right back to the prison. Other prisoners, upon finding out about his deed to someone who had been kind to them, dispensed their own justice – the man was hung from the second story cell blocks.

This left a residual haunting and many people see this deed played out before their eyes.

The apparition of a man wearing a wide brimmed hat is seen in the room where prisoners who executed by hanging. Some people have felt a weight on their chest and an increased sense of unease in this room.

Apparitions of former prisoners are most commonly seen out of the corner of your eye. They are seen both in the halls and in the cells. An unidentified ghost who is said to angry to the point of insanity occasionally makes his presence known in the cell blocks.

Other Activity: disembodied voices and screams, feelings of being watched, being followed and not being wanted.